On Friday (October 9, 2020), Argentina officially approved the use of drought-resistant genetically modified (GMO) wheat as the world’s first country, sparking sharp criticism of the country’s huge export-oriented agriculture sector.
Bioceres’ BIOX.BA HB4 wheat is resistant to drought and tolerates the herbicide glufosinate sodium, a combination the company says can help boost yields on dry years. But the government said the product cannot be sold before Brazil, Argentina’s biggest wheat buyer, approves its importation.
Last year, 45% of the 11.3 million tonnes of wheat exported by Argentina went to neighboring Brazil, which has not commented on the prospects of it approving the purchase of HB4 wheat.
Many farm groups in Argentina objected to the government’s approval of the product, over concerns it could prove a stigma for exporters.
“Not only are wheat and flour exports put at risk, but also pellets, starch, gluten, baked goods, noodles and all the products (that require additional processing),” said a statement signed by regional farmers’ associations, traders, and the influential Chamber of Cereal Exporters (CEC). Find more…